This week Entrepreneur Architect is joining BusinessofArchitecture.com in celebration of “Architect Website Week” (Dec. 8-14). The following is a guest post by my friend Enoch Sears, AIA, the founder of BusinessofArchitecture.com and author of the book Social Media for Architects.
Not Just a Portfolio
Your website has great potential as a selling tool for your architecture firm, but is it performing like it could?
Maybe you’ve thought of your website as an online portfolio, or a place where clients and consultants can look up your phone number and email address. It can do that, but with the latest internet tools, much more is possible. Don’t sell your website short.
Here are 3 ways to use your website as a sales tool, and not just a portfolio.
1. Encourage interaction
Successful selling of professional services involves careful listening and understanding a client’s concerns. Each positive interaction with a client or prospect builds trust and commitment.
Here are a few ways to encourage interaction on your website:
- Have an articles section on your website where visitors can post comments.
- Have a FAQ section where visitors can ask questions, and get your expert answers.
- Add a survey to poll visitors to your website on a particular topic.
- Add social media sharing and “like” buttons so people can interact with your content.
The goal is to have your visitors engage with your website, not just see it as a static object. All else being equal, this will give you preeminence above your competitors. To be an effective selling tool, your website should be a bustling community, not a ghost town.
2. Add social proof
Professor Robert Cialdini includes social proof as one of his 6 psychological “weapons of persuasion and influence”. If your prospects can see that others have had success with you, they will feel more confident about doing the same.
You (hopefully) already have testimonials in your standard brochure/proposal package. Your website has a powerful advantage because it can also host video and audio content. Adding video testimonials to your website is a powerful way for people to get to know you better.
3. Add downloadable content
How many people are visiting your website? Do you know who they are or where they come from? How long do they stay on your site? Are they looking for an architect or browsing for other information?
One way to capture the information of interested prospects that visit your site is to add a form where prospects can request downloadable content like a free report or project planner.
This gives your prospects a less intimidating choice to interact with you if they are not ready to talk about their project yet. After you get the prospect’s email address, you should put it into your email followup system.
Don’t Let The White Space Go To Waste
While a website shouldn’t be your only selling tool, it can be a powerful arrow in your quiver. Encouraging interaction, adding social proof and downloadable content will boost the effectiveness of your website. And if you get even one extra project because of the effort, this will be time and money well spent.
To learn more strategies for a successful website, Eric Bobrow is sponsoring a free training webinar on “Internet Marketing for Architects”. You can check it out here.
And remember – you have a beautiful website with lots of white space – don’t let it go to waste.